“Super” wild card round wasn’t

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills
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Last year, with the playoff field expanding to 14 teams and the first weekend growing to six games, the NFL coined a new term: Super wild card round.

There’s wasn’t much super about this year’s six-pack of games.

Of the half-dozen contests, four were blowouts, with margins of 16 points (Bucs over Eagles), 21 points (Chiefs over Steelers), 23 points (Ram over Cardinals), and 30 points (Bill over Patriots). Each outcome felt like even more of a splattering than the final scores would indicate.

Two games were close, with the 49ers winning in Dallas by six points and the Bengals beating the Raiders by seven. Both of those games could have been worse; the 49ers led by 16 in the second half, and the Bengals led by 14 in the first half and by 10 at the start of the fourth quarter.

The weekend also saw a resurgence of home-field advantage, with the hosts going 5-1. Last year, the home teams in the first round went 2-4.

In both conferences, the games between the No. 2 seed and the No. 7 seed weren’t competitive, raising fresh questions as to whether it makes sense to have more than 12 playoff teams. Although the seventh-seeded Colts gave the Bills a run for their money in 2020, the other three games between second and seventh seeds haven’t been close.

The good news is that the wheat and the chaff have been separated, and that the remaining teams are the best eight in football. On Saturday, the Bengals face the Titans and the 49ers visit the Packers. The next day, the Rams take on the Bucs and the Chiefs host the Bills.

Hopefully, divisional round weekend will be the “super” that the super wild card round wasn’t.

45 responses to ““Super” wild card round wasn’t

  1. Embarrassing display by my Steelers. Ben looked old and washed-up. Tomlin’s game plan was lame getting off the bus. I have a feelign next year will be a full break-down and rebuild.

  2. It was mostly a snooze fest. I’m hoping for more competitive games this weekend.

  3. That’s what happens when you water down the product out of greed. Some teams just weren’t good enough to be there in the first place (Philly, New England, Pittsburgh.) 4 out of the 6 games were blowouts. The Niners are the only exception to the rule but with that said, they have been vastly superior to the Cards the last two months and earned their place by winning against good teams down the stretch.

  4. The Monday game is ridiculous. Can’t wait to hear how many eastcoast sets switched off in the 2nd quarter.

    .. I think they should add another team and give all the division winners a bye. Have a play-in round.

  5. As a Bills fan, I hate drama. Loved no drama Saturday night. But as a football fanatic, the rest of the games were pretty boring. Cowboys had a chance at the end. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. The lady crying in the stands for America’s team pretty well summed it up. Maybe it’s time to mix up the divisions?

  6. the NFL didnt add games for “competition”, they were added for money money money money…..
    this is the direction of the NFL. you dont have to like it…but is going to continue.

  7. Totally agree. The main reason the NFL added a seventh playoff team for each conference was to add two more games to the schedule and generate more revenue. But the quality was not there. Both of the seventh seeds got blew out by the number 2 seeds in two very poor games. Obviously the NFL is more interested in generating revenue than putting out a quality product. They should go back to the old system of 12 playoff teams and two byes.

  8. Well, so much for NFL parity that everyone seems to whine about during the season.
    Seriously, What Do You Really Want???

  9. That’s what happens when most of the teams that should have been in the playoffs didn’t get in because they lost to covid protocols and not their opponents. Patriots got destroyed by any team with a full healthy roster in the regular season. Bengals couldn’t win a division game to save their life yet won the division. Raiders went undefeated vs other teams practice squads in December etc.

  10. jr4real says:
    January 18, 2022 at 9:52 am
    If they want ratings show Jerry when the ‘Boys lose.


    He’s still crying today

  11. Chiefs fan in LA says:
    January 18, 2022 at 9:51 am
    the NFL didnt add games for “competition”, they were added for money money money money…..
    this is the direction of the NFL. you dont have to like it…but is going to continue.

    Everyone ready for 8 playoff teams per conference, no bye for the top seed to go with your 18 game regular season schedule? Yay….

  12. The #7 seed draws the toughest matchup.

    Should just do what baseball does and have the wild card teams play each other for the right to face the division winners.

  13. “Although we are making tons more money this way, in the interest of quality we are scaling back the playoffs.”
    Does anyone think they’ll ever hear that? Anyone? They’ll be adding additional teams before we get to 2030.

  14. I realize it is easy to blame greedy NFL owners for increasing the playoff field, but the NFLPA gets about 50% of revenue.

    It is definitely greed, but greed casts a wide net- owners, players, stadium vendors, sponsors, TV networks, city tax revenues, parking lot owners, and so on.

  15. The gap between the top and bottom of the playoff teams has always been pretty wide. Often the 6th seeds were getting blown out in the first round of playoffs as well. Adding a 7th team was purely out of greed by adding another playoff game in each conference and creating “Super Wild Card weekend”. In the end, I switched off almost all the games early in the 3rd quarters. I can’t see them going back now, but I’m not seeing the value in adding the extra game right now. And I certainly don’t want to see them go to 16 teams in the playoffs, as I would rather see these 1-2 teams play later in the playoffs.

  16. Niners / Cowboys was the best one on the slate by far and even that was marred by sloppy play and questionable coaching on both sides.

  17. The only 2 games that had any entertainment value were the Raiders/Bengals and the 49ers/Cowboys, and it wasn’t even due to great football being played. It was mostly due to controversy. The other games were just embarrassing for the losers, starting with the Patriots debacle in Buffalo. They were all over at halftime. Not good for ratings…

  18. The answer is simple – go to 4 division winners with first place getting a bye and then having only one wild card team. That would prevent watered down games like we had – there were some real pretenders in the field.

  19. Expand the playoffs in an already screwy season and you’ll see bad teams who had no business being there like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. They got blown out the water by teams who’d normally have bye weeks. At least the best teams won I suppose?

  20. While it is usually good to get playoff experience, the thrashing that some teams took will sting for a long time, and likely have the front office make knee-jerk changes to their rosters. Yes, Howie…I’m looking at you…don’t screw it up.

  21. The additional team served its purpose, making the regular season intriguing through the very last game of week 18 The playoff games are an after thought…they’ll do big ratings regardless of the game quality. If playoff teams are set by week 16 no theres no reason to watch the preseason level of bad that comes when everyone rests their starters.

  22. When teams like the Patriots make the playoffs that do not belong there, this stuff will happen.

  23. I figured that Nick Sirianni would show his true colors, good or bad. I was hoping that they’d stick to the run, be creative with passes, and play good fundamental football. Instead, the opposite happened. Play calling was atrocious. Execution was horrible. Fundamentals were a joke. Jalen Hurts was a mess. They were outcoached and outplayed in all three phases. I hope they can learn from it. Because right now we have no business being a playoff team.

  24. One season sample of this format. Let’s not overreact. If the format stays the same the next couple years, I’d bet at least one 7 seed advances.

    I for one enjoyed having a Monday night game to watch. The fact that a game that opened as a 4.5 point spread ended up not being competitive is just unlucky.

  25. With two weeks left in the regular season there were stories left and right about several teams at or below .500 but still alive and fighting for playoff spots. At least two made the field.
    I got hammered on this site when I wrote I hated the expanded playoffs for just that reason. One poster asked if I’d rather see “everyone tanking” down the stretch. I replied it was infinitely preferable to see bad teams tank than get saddled with an even more watered-down-than-usual wildcard round.
    While tanking certainly exists, a couple of all-out efforts over the last two weeks by teams like the Jags and Lions — by playing hard and winning the latter blew the No. 1 pick, and the former almost did — is evidence tanking wasn’t quite as prevalent as some want to believe.
    Meanwhile, the reward for keeping undeserving teams in the hunt until the final week of the season was a boring wildcard round full of blowouts and bad football. Worst of all, posters mnrasslinggovjesse and GoodellMustGo are correct when they point out this is and always was about the money, not improving the product. It isn’t going away, and it will only get worse when the NFL weasels its way into an 18-game schedule.

  26. The NFL should of forced a Tie between the Chargers/Raiders.

    That, at least, would of improved the ‘Super’ weekend.

  27. It is a diluted product, motivated by greed, that should not have been. All it does is increase the risk for a group of players that will NOT make it to the superbowl. They need to go back to the 12 team format. It is more competitive and better for the game!

  28. In all honesty, nobody had anything to do anyway because it was freezing cold all across America. It did serve it’s purpose.

  29. charliecharger says:
    Raiders vs Bengals and Cowboys vs 49ers were both great games

    You’ve been watching football long enough to know better.
    They were close finishes, not great games. There’s a difference.

  30. 16 games for 40 years. 6 teams for 30 years. It was perfect. Now it’s only going to get worse.

  31. Unfortunately the divisional round won’t be that competitive either. There are a lot of mismatches. Titans, Chiefs, 49ers should win comfortably. Rams vs Bucs will be the only competitive game due to all the injuries for the Bucs.

  32. Get rid of the salary cap and let the fun begin. The owners have lots of money for the toys they own. So , let them have at it. Put up or shut up.

  33. I like the divisional match-ups much better. Maybe a lot of us won’t be turning the TV off at halftime this coming weekend.

  34. dregonspengler says:
    January 18, 2022 at 12:43 pm
    charliecharger says:
    Raiders vs Bengals and Cowboys vs 49ers were both great games

    You’ve been watching football long enough to know better.
    They were close finishes, not great games. There’s a difference.

    Maybe, but a close finish does make for an exciting game. And a lot of us do measure a game’s greatness by its excitement level.

  35. We got to watch 6 football games and that gets spun as bad

    Nobody’s forced to watch. Go watch reruns of Jersey shore or the bachelor.

    Personally I’d rather watch football, blowout or not

  36. Obviously, with hind sight, the playoff format was a huge failure. Not only do you have blow out games but you get ONE team in each conference with a HUGE advantage of being the only teams to have a bye. Traditionally Two teams in each conference earn that bye and so that off sets the advantage as those two teams, more often than not, face each other in the Conference Championship games…. Now we only have one team with that super extra week off to rest and recooperate…. just dump the extra wildcard team and go back to a more balanced playoff format

  37. The NFL has officially killed the chicken that laid the golden eggs for a few more games and TV money. All adding a playoff team did was keep the interest of Browns fans an extra week.

    16 weeks and 6 playoff teams were the perfect numbers. There are really, at most, only 6 top teams in each conference each year. The rest are generally trash.

    It’s no surprise there are few superstars. The talent was watered down across the league this year and many players looked beat down and exhausted.

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